03 Dec 20 News Communities South Africa

Patients surviving Covid with health programme's breathing aids

Sister Anna Johanna Opperman, Operational Manager at Loeriesfontein CHC hospital, and ambulance driver Aneurin Cockrell take delivery of a high-flow nasal oxygen device that has dramatically improved hospitals' Covid care

Life-saving respiratory support equipment provided by two local wind farm funds is helping medics to improve recovery outcomes for Covid-19 patients in their South African community.

High-flow nasal oxygen (HFNO) devices – a non-invasive alternative to mechanical ventilation –  are now the preferred method for treating severe Coronavirus cases in the country’s hospitals.

Doctors have reported mortality rates are more than halved when compared to intubation, from which just 10-15% of patients survived in the early days of the pandemic.

Mainstream's health programmes have been supplying PPE to nurses across our Northern Cape communities

Loeriesfontein Community Healthcare Centre hospital, one of the COVID-19 quarantine sites designated by the Department of Health in the Northern Cape, recently took delivery of a HFNO and a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine as part of the joint Covid health programme run by Loeriesfontein and Khobab Wind Farms.

Four of each of the devices were also provided to Abraham Esau Hospital, along with building materials to upgrade its isolation ward and improve the care of Covid patients from communities around the town of Calvinia.

In addition, other health facilities within the Hantam Municipal Area, including Loeriesfontein Clinic and Namakwa Disaster Management Committee, received oxygen machines under the extended health programme, which has previous funded extensive PPE equipment for nursing staff.  

Vanessa Fredericks, Mainstream’s Economic Development Manager for the Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms, said: “Medical experts in South Africa and across the world are seeing positive outcomes from using high-flow nasal oxygen, a non-invasive oxygen therapy, instead of mechanical ventilation. In general, patients require hospitalisation for much shorter periods, and it has the added benefit of taking pressure off strained health services.”

It is expected that the HFNOs – like the one accepted at Loeriesfontein CHC by Operational Manager Sister Anna Johanna Opperman and ambulance driver Aneurin Cockrell – will be used outside High Care Units after the Covid emergency for a range of treatments.

  • Sister projects Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms were developed, constructed and are now operated by Mainstream for our Africa Joint Venture, Lekela Power. With a generation capacity of 140 megawatts each, they have been powering the equivalent of 240,000 South African households since entering operation in December 2017.